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West Somerset Steam Express 2023

Discussion in 'What's Going On' started by Paul42, Aug 12, 2023.

  1. Paul42

    Paul42 Part of the furniture

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  2. Paul42

    Paul42 Part of the furniture

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  3. Paul42

    Paul42 Part of the furniture

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    Bahamas plus 11 and no diesel.
    Now behind 7828 and 7812, and just passed through Watchet.
     
  4. Paul42

    Paul42 Part of the furniture

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    We were delayed leaving Minehead due to a points failure, so the Manors were not turned. We left 15 minutes late and made it to Bishops Lydeard in one hour, so I still had time to visit the Quantock Brewery shop, and take a photo.
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  5. KristianGWR

    KristianGWR Member

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    A barnstorming run up to Savernake, this morning. Enjoy :)
     
  6. Paul42

    Paul42 Part of the furniture

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    Resize_20230812_175814_4617.jpg Superb run from Taunton to the water stop at Frome.
     
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  7. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Resident of Nat Pres

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    My wifes car had a flat tyre so I took it for a replacement this morning

    While it was being done I went for a Coffee at the Rye Bakery next to the station and lo and behold!

    [​IMG]
     
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  8. Mick45305

    Mick45305 Member

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    Looked good judging by the progress on OpenTrainTimes, was hoping to be on today but had to miss out. Hope you’ve had a great day Paul. :)
     
  9. Paul42

    Paul42 Part of the furniture

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    Good until wrongly routed at Theale. Currently waiting signals to be set for the loop.
     
  10. AMP

    AMP Member

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    Twice..... Now finally in the loop.

    Andrew
     
  11. free2grice

    free2grice Part of the furniture Friend

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    I was fortunate to film the train on the return at Brewham bank powering towards the summit. It was a remarkable sight and sound. Has anyone aboard today's tour have any idea of the speeds during the ascent please? TIA [BJ]
     
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  12. Paul42

    Paul42 Part of the furniture

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    I didn't take my GPS with me, but someone told me, that they were told 55mph at the summit. There was a well known timer on board - Bill, but I do not know what coach he was in, so did not get a chance to speak to him.
     
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  13. Paul42

    Paul42 Part of the furniture

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    Slough
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  14. Paul42

    Paul42 Part of the furniture

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    Thanks to RTC, BLS and West Coast for a very enjoyable day out.
    Thanks to the West Somerset Railway crews for entertaining runs, particularly the return. Thanks to those who sorted the problem with the points out.
     
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  15. TheModster

    TheModster Member

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    45596 passing Maidenhead on the fast, and the two manors making a deafening noise on the WSR:
     
  16. JBTEvans

    JBTEvans Well-Known Member

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    Must've been a spirited run tender first and shaving off 15mins - don't believe the train is booked to stop? Happy days getting to the Brewery!
     
  17. 46223

    46223 Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    I thought it was a bird above 60007 in that last shot until I saw it had a flashing light. Getting very popular these drone thingy's!
     
  18. Bill2

    Bill2 New Member

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    The West Somerset Steam Express of Saturday 12th August is well worth a report, Bahamas with 11 coaches for around 393 tons tare and 420 gross.

    I joined at Newbury where the starting signal was already green before the train arrived, though it must subsequently have been reversed as a service train overtook while water was being taken. Departure was about a minute late, and a steady acceleration saw speed rise to 63 mph at Kintbury, reduced to 50 afterwards though I'm not sure whether this was a tsr or some other slack. Resuming, Hungerford was passed at 55 with 61½ at Little Bedwyn, 61 at Great Bedwyn, and a minimum of 58 at Savernake summit, first rate in view of the relatively low approach speed. Downhill speed rose to 74 at Pewsey, falling to 70 afterwards but with a steady 75 down the 1-in-222 between Patney and Lavington, dropping to 69 on the subsequent level but then recovering to 74½ by Heywood Road. Times: to Kintbury 8 min 35 sec; Hungerford 11 m 52 s; Bedwyn 16 m 47 s; Savernake 20 m 22 s; Pewsey 25 m 00 s; Patney 29 m 47 s; and Heywood Road 40 m 50 s for the 41.4 miles. However the train was getting well ahead of time at this stage and there was a signal stop before Fairwood Junction presumably to let a Weymouth service ahead, but nonetheless arrival for the water stop at Frome was just on the right side of time in 61 m 56 s for the 48¼ miles, schedule 64 minutes.

    Weather thus far had been dry but cloudy, but the drizzle that had now set in did not encourage me to detrain to review operations. Watering was completed in good time and departure was nearly five minutes early, though only to a signal stop before Blatchbridge Junction for a train on the avoiding line to get past. We were away again on schedule, speed rising to 53 at East Somerset Junction with a minimum of 49 at Brewham and then 76 at Bruton, braking to 70 at Castle Cary. This was rather too good and we caught up the preceding train and had a signal check right down to 3 mph while it cleared the long block to Somerton. Recovery was rather gentle at first, but speed then rose to a maximum of 68½ in the dip before Somerton, only falling to 65 up the 1-in-264 to the summit at post 126¼ with 73½ down the same gradient on the other side, gradually falling to 65½ on the following level but recovering to 69½ at Athelney. Times from Frome: 11 min 27 sec to Blatchbridge; 17 m 44 s to East Somerset Junction (MP 121); 19 m 29 s to Brewham (MP 122½); 22 m 45 s to Bruton; 25 m 32 s to Castle Cary; 40 m 2 s to entering Somerton tunnel; 47 m 3 s to Athelney; and 54 m 3 s to a signal stop approaching Cogload Junction to allow two trains from the Bristol line to get ahead. This was allowed for in the schedule and arrival at Taunton to let the West Somerset crew board was practically dead on time in 76 min 23 sec from Frome.

    There seems no need to comment on the continuation to the West Somerset Railway or the trip over the line itself, for brevity if nothing else, though it should be mentioned that the weather had largely cleared up with some sun. As a previous post has reported, departure from Minehead was delayed by a points failure that also prevented the locomotives from being turned (and in addition severely delayed the regular service train). My seat was now towards the front of the formation, and I have to say the two Manors sounded good working up the banks; it was noticeable how the exhausts kept going into and out of synchronisation.

    Departure from Bishops Lydeard was a couple of minutes early, but we were held for a long time at Norton Fitzwarren while one down and two up service trains passed and were thus six minutes late into platform 2 at Taunton where the stop was well short with only the first two or three coaches on the platform. Departure was still six late, but this was against a yellow signal as the trains ahead were clearly doing badly and we were right behind the second of them. Thus Bahamas was not opened up until after crossing to the up line, but then went really well, accelerating to 61 at Cogload, 72½ at Athelney and 75 on the level beyond, then gradually falling off on the 1-in-264 to 64 at the summit on leaving Somerton tunnel. Speed rose to 70 mph at post 125 but was then reduced for a slack near the former Charlton Mackrell station, though I didn't notice any tsr signs. The descent past Keinton Mandeville gave a maximum of 64 mph with a further acceleration to 68½ on the brief level at post 117¾ followed by a drop to 66½ on the rise before Castle Cary, 68 through the station with a most impressive roar from Bahamas, 69 afterwards then a storming 61½ through Bruton, 63½ on the following easier grades and a minimum of 51½ at Brewham summit followed by a maximum of 67 at East Somerset junction. The earlier post was somewhat optimistic in suggesting 55 at Brewham, but 51½ is excellent with this load, incidentally in the wet; the best with a Western engine of which I am aware is 54 from a Castle hauling just seven coaches. Times from Taunton: 11 min 20 sec to Athelney; 18 m 20 s to leaving Somerton tunnel; 29 m 26 s to Castle Cary; 32 m 31 s to Bruton; 35 m 56 s to Brewham (post 122¾ in this direction); 37 m 41 s to East Somerset Junction ; 43 m 28 s to Blatchbridge; and 47 m 5 s to the water stop at Frome, again with just the front coach or so in the platform. This was actually little better than the 48 minute schedule demanded, though allowance has to be made for the slow start and intermediate slack

    Watering was completed quickly enough to enable a punctual departure, but only as far as a scheduled pathing stop in Frome north loop to cross a Weymouth train and allow an express on the cutoff to pass. Restarting, speed rose to a maximum of 46½ before slowing for a lengthy 20 mph tsr after Fairwood junction that must also have held up the train ahead as with a signal check in addition speed was reduced to 13 mph at one point. After 44 mph at Heywood Road and 48½ at MP93 there was a slowing to 19 mph at Edington, though again I didn't see any signs for a tsr. Acceleration on the level gave 55 at Lavington followed by a slight increase to 56½ up the 1-in-222 before Patney, 59½ past Patney itself, 68½ in the dip before Pewsey, 67½ through the station, 68½ on the level to post 73 and a minimum of 61 at Savernake. Rapid downhill acceleration gave 74 at Bedwyn with an exciting charge through Hungerford at the full 75 permitted round the curve there, 76 afterwards, 74½ through Kintbury and an easy approach to Newbury.

    Times from Frome: 8 min 3 sec to departure from the stop in north loop; 16 m 12 s to Fairwood; 22 m 17 s to Heywood Road; 39 m 36 s to Patney; 45 m 6 s to Pewsey; 49 m 54 s to Savernake; 53 m 6 s to Great Bedwyn; 57 m 4 s to Hungerford; 59 m 28 s to Kintbury and 66 m 22 s to arrival at Newbury, schedule 63 minutes though the slacks in the earlier part of the trip would surely have ruled this out in any case.

    I left at Newbury but waited to see the train leave; despite the fun at Theale I understand eventual arrival at Paddington was on time. A most satisfactory day; many thanks to RTC for promoting the tour and the stewards for finding me a milepost side seat, West Coast and crews for operating it, and to the Bahamas Society and personnel for the sparkling condition and performance of their locomotive.
     
  19. Paul42

    Paul42 Part of the furniture

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    Bill

    Thanks for your detailed report.

    Paul
     
  20. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    It seems that Bahamas has rapidly become one of the few locomotives to provide pure steam logs nowadays.
     

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